Category Archives: Cool Cars

Who says old Jettas aren’t worth anything?!

This beast is called the Juck (Jetta+Truck), and does everything. Hay bales, engines, wheels and tires, ebrake slides, you name it. You see, today it was the only legal vehicle that could make it up the driveway in the rain (yep…the old Beast [Suburban] and Soccer Dad Jetta [MK4] are cuddling together down the hill…the Vanagon makes it fine and saved the Suburban’s bacon by towing the trailer yesterday). But this lifted two point slow Frankenstein of a Juck? It said, “RAWR I got this,” and with over 300 pounds worth of race car parts, groceries, and kids in the back, it dug out a new ditch for us LOL.

I am looking forward to the day we put the new differential in there – omg amazing. It’s getting VR6 springs soon too, because it’s old and saggy in the rear. No one wants to be saggy in the rear.

Yay for old cars! Whee for mud!
Have a great weekend everyone. 😀



1956 Bus Engine Flame Fun

So this happened…we really needed this 1956 VW Bus to move on its own so we can utilize that side of the shop. Last weekend we threw a transmission into it (link:, and this weekend we threw a 1500S engine we had on a stand into it. The engine hasn’t run in about six years (came to us as just an engine), and the Bus hasn’t move on it’s own in about fifteen years. Let’s hope the transmission is actually good hahaha. No muffler on it gave a pleasant side-effect of flames and popping that we could startle the kids with. And that is always fun.


Random update – Busy, busy!

There may be a lack of posting here, but that’s not for lack of activity. Honestly there hasn’t been much to post about, as machining heads and cases, prepping pans and tunnels for welds, tearing down and diagnosing engines, collecting parts to finish projects, Jetta control arm bushings, Chevy Suburban overhauls, and getting golf carts running again aren’t terribly exciting posts.

But what DID happen was finally we finished this buggy. What originally was supposed to be an easy custom roll cage build ended up turning into a long project of diagnosing and fixing what needed to be fixed. The clutch tube had been shortened inside the tunnel to about less than a foot in length with a plastic sheath used instead. This caused the cable to coil on itself inside the tunnel, as well as rub a section away at the pedals in the tunnel that pinched it, effectively rendering the cable [eventually] inoperable. We had to not only get a doner tube from a Ghia pan but also cut two holes in the buggy tunnel to install it. The pedals themselves were broken and missing their plate, so we fabricated a fix for that. The single master cylinder had failed, so that was replaced with a dual master. A too-long bolt was installed backwards in the rear suspension, severely cutting down travel. And several other random issues to make it safer and more reliable.

But we are very pleased with the outcome, and the buggy’s owner was thrilled when she finally got to drive it again (immediately noting that it actually shifted!). Seeing people happy with the results always makes us happy, too. And just in time for convertible weather!

Next up was a friend who brought us his transmission to have a Quaife differential installed in it. I haven’t seen his project yet, but it’s a custom flatbed Bug truck with a Corrado engine. He will really enjoy the handling better with this Quaife.

Installed differential in this transmission.

Installed differential in this transmission.

And to quell the rumors (or maybe start them?) we have indeed uncovered the Green Booger and have commenced prep. Slowly, anyway, as we have time for it. It has been fun working on the Booger again. Alas, I forgot to tell Ken Porter of Porter’s Precision I planned to paint it green as well, but he did a nice job painting it black while refreshing it. So black it will stay for now!

As we have time to do so, we have been working on a complete tear down of a 1973 VW Thing (T181). Acquired from the second owner, who purchased it in 1975, it had been sitting for quite some time. To do it right, we took it completely down to square 1 – just the tunnel, and even only partial of that! In the long run, it will make this Thing much more reliable as we will be will addressing every single part of it.

So as we continue work on this, we’ll post updates. The ultimate plan is for link-pin suspension with Fox shocks and fully caged, among other things.

Thanks for reading!


On the cover of TWO magazines…

A huge congratulations to Brad Martin of Placerville, CA and his lovely fuel injected 1914cc turbo-charged oval-window ragtop built with Gary Herrod of Two Larrys Racing. Not only did they make the cover of major European magazine UltraVW in February 2015, but he duplicated the feat in major US magazine HotVW’s for June 2015! Click on the photos below to view the articles. You can navigate the menu above under Custom Engines to read more about the birth of this beautiful car.

On the cover of Europe's UltraVW February 2015. Click to view the article in PDF format.

On the cover of Europe’s UltraVW February 2015. Click to view the article in PDF format.

On the cover of the US' HotVW Magazine for June 2015. Click the photo to view the article in PDF format.

On the cover of the US’ HotVW Magazine for June 2015. Click the photo to view the article in PDF format.


Two new pages at TLR

Late 60s Burro info sheet. Tiny Thompson in Santa Ana made the Burro frames.

Steve’s Burro at the 2012 Auburn car show.

TLR is pleased to bring you two new pages for your viewing pleasure. The first is information on the rare vintage race buggy called “The Burro,” a vehicle we had the pleasure of viewing back in 2012 at the Auburn Cruise Night finale show. Steve Heckert was the owner, and he generously provided a wealth of information on these cute little guys. Please read all about them by navigating our menu above under “Tech Info/Tutorials,” or CLICK HERE to visit it directly.

Additionally, Steve sent several vintage photos of VORRA racing circa 1970’s. You can view these by navigating our menu above under “Media,” or CLICK HERE to visit it directly.



New TLR Page – Bob Dodero and the broken record

Bob Dodero and his World Record holding oval window. Photo by Burly Burlile.

Bob Dodero and his World Record holding oval window. Photo by Burly Burlile.











We are pleased to announce that Bob and his world record Oval Window have their very own page on TLR now, complete with photos and video. You can visit it in the menu above under Projects and Custom Engines, or follow this link to read more about Bob breaking the world record for the ww36 class!


Vanagon Shenanigans – In The Dark

We’ve been busy as usual…finishing out the summer/fall projects to welcome the fall/winter projects! Namely, we are pleased to once again be working with Meek Racing #1142 (Dave Meek) and CBCFS Racing #1116 (Paul Nauleau) to assist in their preparation for the 2015 racing season.

But to give everyone a smile on their face today, here is some video of what we did last night. Because sometimes you just need to take a donut break.


Random Updates, Race News

Bob Dodero's land-speed record holding oval window. Photo by HotVW here:

Bob Dodero’s land-speed record holding oval window. Photo by HotVW here:

It’s been a while since we’ve updated – it’s been very busy! So here goes….

First, a major shout-out to our friend Bob Dodero. You might remember him from earlier posts as the [new] owner of the the Smurf, #1106. He made his goal this year to race at Bonneville and break the land-speed world record for the ww36 class in an Oval Window Bug. (there are a lot of classes racing, ww36 is a specific class with specifications for the engine components, etc.) We are so pleased and proud that on Sunday, he broke the world land-speed record with his TLR-Gary Herrod-built 36hp motor at 78+ mph! He will be running again Tuesday (today) with changes to the carbs Gary also built for him, and a Pertronix system instead of points (it’s fun seeing the performance differences) – maybe he’ll even break his own record! We are very excited for him. Video of the engine to come soon from when we had it on the dyno. It sure doesn’t sound like a 36hp. Also on Sunday was Bob’s birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Bob, and what a great present he gave himself!

If you would like to read HotVW Magazine coverage of Bonneville so far (they plan to have a full spread in the upcoming magazines):
– Day One of Bonneville
– Day Two of Bonneville
– Day Three of Bonneville

Also in the news, another VORRA Fallon 250 is in the record books. If you would like to see the results from that race, please visit VORRA’s site here: Fallon 250 Results. Congratulations to all competitors. If you would like to read race stories, please check that out on VORRA’s forum here.

The VORRA September Sizzler at Prairie City is coming up at the end of this month. If you are interested in some short course action as a racer or spectator, please check the information and schedule here on VORRA’s site:
2014 September Summer Sizzler
September 27 – 28, 2014
Prairie City OHV Park
Rancho Cordova, California

The always awesome VORRA Halloween races (called the Spooktacular now) will be coming up in the end of October.

*They are still looking for VORRAteers to help with the races and on the track for both meets!*

Also in the news, our Syncro is up and running again! It sounds similar to the Booger. 😉 We will get photos and video of the Van on the site soon as well.